For those of us not constantly hugging trees or wanting to walk barefoot into a forest, going green might be synonymous with sacrifice and limited design, but environmentally friendly options have come a long way! Being a friend of the environment is a lot easier than we think and almost always more beneficial for our health, not to mention this giant space rock we live on.
We like to think of kitchens as the glue that holds all of our stomachs together. But thinking of the actual glue that holds the actual kitchen together can send a lot of us running for the door.
Here are 3 easy steps to improve air quality, health and sustainability.
Look for formaldehyde-free alternatives. Most kitchen cabinets and their interior boxes are constructed of particleboard, fiberboard or plywood. These materials require added formaldehyde binders or glues, which release fumes.
Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, but safe options exist. There are low VOC alternatives, including FSC-certified plywood, bamboo plywood and agrifiber boards, which are just as strong and durable.
Agricultural waste can produce strong and durable material that you don’t have to worry about or replace in a few years.
2. Environmentally Friendly Kitchen Counters
Sustainable counter tops can be beautiful additions that use recycled material and low-toxicity binders.
While granite counter tops have been the crown jewel of selling points, there are many downsides. Granite counter tops have micro-fractures that increase bacteria build up, which in turn increases maintenance need.
On the other hand, Quartz counters are manufactured from an abundant source and mimic the look of stone with a virtually impermeable surface that requires no sealing.
You can even take it a step further and opt for recycled glass counters. Made of aggregate such as marble chips and concrete – the material sparkles and shines.
For the more modern Eco buddies out there try concrete counter tops. A sleek finish that has endless customization’s. Make sure to buy locally or pour in place to reduce the energy costs of shipping the slabs.
3. Environmentally Conscious Appliances
We like to think of good appliances as really great eyebrows, without which the face just looks confused and shapeless.
Energy Star appliances are energy efficient and backed by the government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Some states even offer a rebate for buying Energy Star.
Here’s what else you should look for:
Dishwashers that include an air-dry option.
A new fridge will actually save you on energy costs. Newer models are 75% more efficient than those manufactured 20 years ago, which means that we are constantly getting better at making a better more sustainable product.
Look for freezers on top to use up to 10-25% less energy than those located on the bottom or sides.
Appliances should never be directly next to hotter surfaces as the added heat source will require much more energy to keep cool.
Finally, opt for under the counter water purifiers, which have 10 times the filtering capacity of a faucet mounted purifier.
Sustainable design is all about planning, what use is a green kitchen if you have to replace it in a few years!